Visa requirement for Mexicans and the Destruction of Mexican Agriculture

Another local economy destroyed by “free” trade.

Canadians need to understand the context of today’s announcement that Mexican citizens will require visas to visit Canada.  We also need to understand the root cause of the rising number of Mexican refugees coming to Canada.

Food products—staples such as corn and beans—are flooding into Mexico.  Since the 1995 implementation of NAFTA, US corn exports to Mexico have quadrupled.  These products are flowing south at prices below Mexican farmers’ cost of production, and below the cost of production in the US.  Subsidies enable farmers to produce below cost.  NAFTA dictates that Mexico must allow this food in.  The NAFTA timetable required that on January 1, 2008, Mexico remove its final restrictions on the imports of staple food products—opening its border completely to imports of corn and beans.

Mexican farmers have been devastated by low prices for corn and other crops.  Farm families have been forced off their land, and forced to relocate to large cities and border-town maquilidoras.  NAFTA’s body-blow to Mexico’s farm sector has meant a rapid rise in the number of Mexicans who are landless, unemployed, poor, and desperate.

This growing number of desperately poor Mexican citizens has created social unrest and instability and, in some cases, a pool of people willing to work for the drug cartels.  Expanding drug cartel violence, the attendant corruption of some police and justice officials, a growing sense of lawlessness, declining safety, and declining economic prospects have driven many Mexican families to flee their homes—some have come to Canada to try to obtain refugee status.

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Pacific a ‘waste disaster’

Pollution in Tuvalu

PACIFIC POLLUTION: A grubby scene on Funafuti in Tuvalu is repeated elsewhere on Pacific islands, says Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey.
Neighbouring Pacific states are turning into environmental disasters, amidst their own waste and pollution, Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey claims.

He was part of Prime Minister John Key’s four-countries-in-four-days Pacific junket and claims the trip left him fearing for the future of some of the Pacific’s most pristine tourist destinations.

Unchecked pollution and poor management has left many beautiful spots in jeopardy, he says.

He singled out Tonga and the Cook Islands in particular, saying these places should be seen as world heritage sites, but their government officials were failing to give attention to the rapid degradation of their environment.

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Fonterra eyes impact of emissions trading

And those farmers who voted for National thinking that the fart tax would disappear. I pity them. Welcome our new masters, the ruling banking elite; The New World Order.

The Emissions Trading Scheme, as it stands, would sink Fonterra’s plans to grow milk production by between 1 and 3 per cent each year.

“If you put the system that was in against the dairy industry then you would have a 5 per cent drop-off in production because of the extra cost to the farmer and the extra costs to Fonterra,” said Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier.

It’s Ferrier’s view the cost of carbon emissions should be carried by the farmers rather than by Fonterra.

“If it’s paid on-farm every farmer gets treated the same and it’s the farmer who can adjust.

“If you want to push change we can’t change it, the farmer can.”

However it works, a drop in production was counter to Fonterra’s growth plans, he said.

Monsanto acquires firm to extend into wheat

NEW YORK (AFP) – Monsanto, the agricultural giant known for developing biotech corn, said Tuesday it acquired WestBred, LLC, a company that specializes in genetic material for wheat.

“The investment will bolster the future growth of Monsanto’s seeds and traits platform and allow farmers to benefit from the company’s experience in drought-, disease- and pest-tolerance innovations,” Monsanto said in a statement announcing the 45-million-dollar deal.

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The World Food Crisis in Historical Perspective

The “world food crisis” of 2007-08 was the tip of an iceberg. Hunger and food crises are endemic to the modern world, and the eruption of a rapid increase in food prices provided a fresh window on this cultural fact. Much like Susan George’s well-known observation that famines represent the final stage in an extended process of deepening vulnerability and fracturing of social reproduction mechanisms, this food “crisis” represents the magnification of a long-term crisis of social reproduction stemming from colonialism, and was triggered by neoliberal capitalist development.1

The colonial era set in motion an extractive relation between Europe and the rest of the world, whereby the fruits of empire displaced non-European provisioning systems, as the colonies were converted into supply zones of food and raw materials to fuel European capitalism.

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From Lawn to Lunch

To convert your sunny lawn to a lunch box, remove turf in long, 18-inch strips. Cut the edges of each strip with a sharp-bladed edging tool. While one partner rolls up the grass like a jellyroll, another slices through grass roots with the edging tool. Remove about an inch of rooty soil with the top growth. When the roll gets heavy, slice it off and load it in a wheelbarrow.

To compost the strips, layer green sides together, then brown sides together, ending brown-side-up. Cover the stack with soil and mulch (straw, chopped leaves, or shredded bark) and let stand for 10-12 months.

Make beds 10 to 20 feet long and six to eight feet wide (so you can reach the center from each side). Mulch three to four-foot wide paths between beds (grass left in the path will infiltrate your beds) to accommodate a wheelbarrow. Now fork over the soil strips and remove as many roots as possible. Aerate beds with a garden fork, sinking it as evenly and deeply as possible.

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The Transition Initiative

A WHILE AGO, I heard an American scientist address an audience in Oxford, England, about his work on the climate crisis. He was precise, unemotional, rigorous, and impersonal: all strengths of a scientist.

The next day, talking informally to a small group, he pulled out of his wallet a much-loved photo of his thirteen-year-old son. He spoke as carefully as he had before, but this time his voice was sad, worried, and fatherly. His son, he said, had become so frightened about climate change that he was debilitated, depressed, and disturbed. Some might have suggested therapy, Prozac, or baseball for the child. But in this group one voice said gently, “What about the Transition Initiative?”

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